A Day in the Life of a Mother Dealing With Suicidal Thoughts
When the alarm goes at 7 a.m., for a split second after waking up I feel OK, maybe even happy. Then it hits me — I’m still alive and my chest suddenly feels as though an anchor has landed on it. It is a struggle just to move, but I have to put on my brave face and wake my daughter for school. Everything is a drag, walking hurts, breathing feels unnatural and wrong. Sometimes even the sound of my own voice leaving my mouth feels false. I question whether I am real.
When I get to the school gates, I feel a sense of dread, panic, a constant anxiety. Walking through the playground, it feels as though every single pair of eyes is staring straight at me, judging me, when all I really want is to just disappear into nothing. I put on a smile as other parents say, “Hello, how are you?” I always lie. “I’m fine.” I say, but inside I’m screaming “Help me!” My favorite part of the day is watching my little girl skip into her classroom, because I know in there she will be surrounded by happiness and safety. She won’t be stuck under the black storm cloud that hovers above my head. I love her so much.
I commute on the London underground tube. Every morning as the train approaches, I feel the air sucking me towards the tracks, the lights enticing my every fiber, encouraging me to jump — maybe this will be easier than having to live in this constant turmoil. I never do it because I am all that my little girl has. That doesn’t mean I don’t think about it every second of every day. On the train, I wonder if the other people feel the same. Do they notice me? Can they feel my hatred towards myself? Do they see the scars on my arms? Each one a cry for help.
At university, I sit with my friends, I laugh and smile and talk about the weekend and my daughter and I pretend I’m having a great time living out my youth in London. It is all a lie. It gets harder to lie as time passes by, but I think if I don’t lie they won’t like me anymore, they will leave me, I will be alone and I will have even more reason to die. I try hard to listen to my lectures, but I find myself zoning out. All I can think about is keeping a straight face, no crying, no digging my nails into my arms, I am not allowed to show them who I really am. I hear someone laugh and joke about suicide being attention-seeking. Sometimes I wish it was. I wish I could get the attention I need to get the help that I need, but it is the opposite. I want to hide away and never reveal how I feel.
I manage to make it to the end of the day without killing myself, even though I feel like somebody has cracked open the top of my skull and poured cement inside my body. I ache, I hurt all over, but there is no reason why. I think back on the time I was sectioned by the police for trying to jump off a bridge. Even then I was able to put on a normal face and pretend like I was just fine. They believed me and let me go home the same day.
I’m scared to tell anybody how I really feel in case they take my daughter away from me. I wish I could just turn it off and be normal. I hate it when people ask “but what is normal?” Normal is not wanting to kill yourself. At night I lay awake for hours, with thoughts running through my mind of all the hurt, abuse and abandonment I have experienced in my life. I never sleep.
Maybe one day, I can look back on this period in my life and be thankful I kept on grinding through each day, but for now, hindsight isn’t possible, neither is rationality. This is who I am and my existence is painful.
Although my situation hasn’t changed and I still feel like I do, I have found a huge relief in slowly talking about my experiences. It can be hard to open up, especially with the stigma attached to suicide, but talking opens up the doors for recovery and I know that it can be possible to reclaim life. If you feel this way, I’d urge you to talk, whether it is with somebody you know, someone online or on a crisis helpline. It could just save your life, giving you an opportunity to find services that can help you get through the darkness. You are not alone, however lonely you may feel.
If you or someone you know needs help, please visit the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline. You can also reach the Crisis Text Line by texting “START” to 741-741. Head here for a list of crisis centers around the world.
The Crisis Text Line is looking for volunteers! If you’re interesting in becoming a Crisis Counselor, you can learn more information here.